Varsity

Lady Titans off to a good start

basketball

Shaler Area seniors Allie Graf, Gabby Lebakken, Kayla Seidl. Alliya Duritza, and Rylee Donovan with their coach. Photo credit: Cynthia Graf

The girls’ basketball team has high hopes for a successful season which hopes it will end with clinching a playoff spot in WPIAL 6A.   Although WPIAL teams have been reclassified into six classes, Section 1 of 6A is almost identical to that of 4A’s last year.  Shaler Area, North Allegheny, Butler, Seneca Valley, Pine Richland, and North Hills are all in Section 1 with Oakland Catholic being moved down to 5A Section 2.

Starting their season in Washington, D.C., the Lady Titans went 2-0, beating Anacostia and St. Mary’s Ryken.  The Lady Titans then defeated Plum 42-26 and Moon 47-39.

The Lady Titans are returning four starters from last year’s team: Rylee Donovan, Allie Graf, Alliya Duritza and Megan Lydon.  The team’s record last year was 10-12, but there are high hopes of being more successful this year trying to be the first team to win the 6A Section 1 title.

With Donovan and Duritza being the leading scorers last year, both of the girls are taking on a leadership role during their senior season.  Seniors Allie Graf, Gabriella Lebakken and Kayla Seidl are also stepping up this year.

“Being one of the captains this year, I definitely have the responsibility of guiding the freshmen and helping them get more comfortable with the team on and off of the court,” Seidl said. “I have to be more helpful offensively since we’re the seniors now and have no one to look up to who will get the job done.”

Displeased with the results of last year’s season, the Lady Titans believe they have the key components of what it takes to be a successful team in the regular and postseason.

“Not making playoffs last year was a big let down so this year we’re working a lot harder and have a closer team bond.  We have goals to win the first 6A Section 1 title, but also to make a run in the playoffs because we didn’t make them last year.  We definitely have the right group of girls to do it,” Donovan said.

With 6A Section 1 being arguably the best section in the WPIAL, the team acknowledges that this will not give them an easy ride through the season.  Although it will be tough for the team, the girls feel that this will be more beneficial to them in the long run.

“6A Section 1 is without a question the best section in the WPIAL. Some of the best girls in the state play in the section so we have a lot to compete with.  As a team, we’re really motivated to get some key wins over some good teams.  Competing in this section will make us stronger as a whole and hopefully more successful for the postseason,” Donovan said.

Cornelius Nesbit enters his second year of coaching the Lady Titans and has formed a strong bond with all of his players.

“Nesbit is always pushing us to do our best in practices and games and his intensity keeps the team motivated even if we get down.  He has established a strong trust with all of us which really helps us to listen and agree with the decisions he is making for the team that will help us be most successful,” Seidl said.

Only four games into the season, Nesbit has already learned enough about the team to see their growth from last year and where they have to improve.

“I have learned that this group has matured from last year and is very capable of winning games when we aren’t playing our very best. Last year this group wasn’t capable of handling adversity, so far we have found a way to win,” Nesbit said.  “Our biggest room for improvement is to start the games a little bit better so we don’t get behind and improve our rebounding.”